Apr 20, 2011 1:55 PM
The Cliff House Brie en Croûte (and Wine, of Course)
Wine and cheese, almost cliché given so many traditional pairing options available. So far we've addressed various wines and how they interact with, and improve upon, a number of different cheeses. That is also our intention with this article, although first; allow us to improve upon the cheese itself.
Executive Chef Scott Savage prepares a lovely Brie en Croûte with such versatile flavors as to be enjoyed before your meal or after your meal, just before bed, or with dawn's first blush. In this dish, the Chef combines sweet, familiar flavors (Fuji apples sautéed in brown sugar, cinnamon and butter) with savory flavors (Brie - the older the better), and an enveloping, flaky blanket of puff pastry. Given the complex yet still welcoming sensations created, let's up the ante.
When pairing wine with sweeter dishes, it is most important to achieve a similar level of sugar in each. Should your wine be too sweet, your dessert will likely taste bland; conversely, when a dessert is too sweet, wine often seems thin or tart.
With The Cliff House Brie en Croûte look for a moderate level of sweetness in your wine, complementing - without subduing - the sautéed apples, while offering contrast to the savory Brie and buttery puff pastry.
From Italy hails Moscato d' Asti - and should you serve it with the Cliff House Brie en Croûte - leave room for the standing ovation. A traditional Moscato d' Asti (or an Asti Spumante) is absolutely my first choice when enjoying this dish. The toasty, effervescent, sweet and tangy flavors of these Northern Italian white wines create an ethereal relationship with the Chef's Brie en Croûte. Two excellent producers, readily found, are Cinzano and Saracco.
To pair this dish with a still wine, I recommend the beautiful Kabinett and Spätlese wines of Germany. Typically made from Riesling, Kabinett and Spätlese are terms that refer to the level of sugar (and/or alcohol) in German wines. With a touch of sweetness, these nectars are reserved, and shyly appropriate for the Brie en Croûte. Look for the names Carl Graff, J.J.Prüm or Dr. Loosen on the label for a just a few great German producers.
Emphatically, Chef Savage's Brie en Croûte is a stellar dish. Prepare it for your guests and serve it with the wines I've recomended, you will bring the house down about you. Proof is as simple as a dinner reservation at the Cliff House. Enjoy.
For more information, visit the website for the Cliff House
You can check out the recipe HERE